Leaving Mathilda’s shop they saw a Priest of Sigmar walking down the street, people getting out of his way. This was Bjorn’s friend Raus, come looking for him.
After introductions they headed for the Upright Pig for a bit of dinner. Roderick noticed a gaggle of Wharf Rats and Fish glaring at each other outside the front door. Just before he reached the door it burst open and Gerd Nakk and Werner Klebb came tumbling out, Werner choking Gerd and yelling “That’s for Rolf, you Bastard!” Gerd kneed Werner hard sending Werner sprawling into Roderick’s arms. Werner recognized Roderick and said “Good timing, Roderick! Let’s get ’em!” The fight was on with Roderick joining in on the side of the Wharf Rats.
The others were unsure what to do and backed off and watched. After a few moments Noa summoned shadows and in a magically magnified voice commanded them to stop. The gangers turned, stupified, one cried “It’s a wizard!” and they all scattered, some of them slowly due to the beating they took.
They retired to an alley where Noa explained he was a member of the Grey College. Roderick was a little upset his reputation might be damaged by being seen to be associated with a College Magician and a Sigmarite Priest.
The group decided the White Horse might be a better option right now, but first Bjorn and Noa reported the body they had found in the alley earlier to the local watch post. They tried canvasing for anyone who had seen anything else of Bjorn’s cousin, but to no avail. It was like he had just disappeared into thin air.
The next day they planned to meet outside the White Horse early in the morning to continue their search. Just as they did, a barge on a pier down the street went up in flames, two men running from the pier and screams coming from the barge. Roderick and Noa gave chase to the runners, while Bjorn and Raus helped the merchant save his family, but failed to put out the flames on the boat. The fleeing men ran through the Pig but got away from Roderick and Noa.
The merchant introduced himself as Adolphus Stark, a textile merchant who was waiting for a delivery of expensive Cathyan silks. He said he had paid protection money to Klaus Keller (the body from the alley yesterday) and when new men demanded money last week he had refused. It seemed the burning of his barge was retaliation for that. Being in dire straits, he could do little more than buy them a round at the Horse for their help, but promises to return the favor to them if he ever could.
As they searched the docks for more clues, they spotted a young lady crying in an alley. Raus went to check on her and she told a sad story of mounting debts and creditors threatening to collect. Raus felt sorry for her and gave her 10 shillings. Roderick shook his head at how easy it was for a young lady with big watery eyes to fleece the priest.
They had another discussion with Frederick Grosz, who was upset about the death of Keller. Grosz strongly hinted to Roderick that if he could manipulate his new friends to get rid of the Black Cowl and set things back the way they used to be, Grosz would consider some debt of Roderick’s repaid.
The following day (Konigstag), they noticed Ute was not at her usual place in front of the horse. Visiting her apartment, it was unslept in and her hurdy gurdy was not there. It seemed Ute had also disappeared. Roderick started thinking about the pattern of the disappearances and realized that they had all happened at night when it had rained. It had rained last night.
Outside Ute’s a street urchin came looking for Bjorn. He said he was sent to fetch him for a man with glowing eyes and a big white pointy hat. Following the urchin, they found a gaggle of onlookers being held back by the watch, and a Bright Order Wizard, Luminary Mauer, looking over the body of Herman Hallheimer, another dockside racketeer with wounds similar to Kellers (puckered puncture wounds with discoloration and a taint of magic about them). Mauer greeted Noa, they knew each other, Noa clearly deferring to the senior wizard. Roderick spotted Grosz in the crowd of onlookers, he looked ill and nervous. It seemed Grosz was getting quite worried that soon a gaggle of onlookers would be staring at HIS body, but Roderick couldn’t talk to him because of the guards and Mauer.
Mauer wanted to question Bjorn about the body he had reported yesterday. He had them show him the spot, then spoke to them privately for their take on what was happening. Mauer said he thought the wounds showed signs of a magical poison, possibly chaos tainted. He said other such bodies had turned up around the city recently, and he had come here as a favor to Marcus Baerfaust to investigate. Roderick was not happy to hear that. They exchanged information and Mauer took his leave.
Later that afternoon, word reached them that an officious looking man was asking for them at the Pig. Arriving there, they met with Curd Weiss from the Read Arrow Coaching company. He said they had come recommended to him by Adolfus Stark, he needed a group of capable adventurous types to help him look into a rash of criminal activities on the roads that had affected the Red Arrow. He said he could pay them well for only a couple days work. He simply asked that they meet him at his office tomorrow morning for more details.
The next morning they went to the Red Arrow offices and met with Weiss. Weiss said he was worried about a cart of goods that had last been seen at the Welcome Rest coaching inn 12 miles from Averheim, but it had never arrived. He asked that they travel to the Welcome Rest and look for signs of what happened to the cart. He would pay them 5 shillings each, and give them a writ for room and board for one night at the inn. Raus asked what was on the cart, he indicted there were several cases of wine from the northern provinces, some industrial chemicals, and some fine Cathayan silks (yes, Adolfus’ delivery). Intrigued by the connection of the silks to their own investigation, they agreed to the job and prepared for the journey to the Welcome Rest.